SIDNEY – “For Christmas you want to make sure there are rooms at the inn,” joked Chris Creamer, travel agent at Shelby County AAA. In this business, “availability is always the common thread”. (As opposed, perhaps, to a bright star.)
Despite the looming threat of the Omicron variant, Christmas travel bookings have increased. An estimated 122 million American adults plan to travel on these vacations, a 42% increase from last year, according to a survey by The Vacationer.
Vacationers find, to their dismay, that some of the most popular getaways of the Christmas season will have to be wiped off Santa’s list, either because of travel restrictions or because of numerous flights, hotels, cruises and more. Resort packages are already full. .
National or international trips
On December 1, 2021, the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 variant Omicron was publicly reported by Anthony S. Fauci during a press conference held at the White House. The infected person was a fully vaccinated (no booster) American traveler who returned home to San Francisco, California after traveling to South Africa.
Understandably, most of the trips from Sidney are domestic trips, Creamer said. Much of this has to do with international travel testing and travel restrictions in place.
The US Department of State issues travel advisories using a tiered travel warning system. Level 4 is the “do not travel” advice. Current Level 4 travel warnings for many popular tourist destinations this year due to COVID-19 unfortunately include popular tropical vacation destinations such as: Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and Costa Rica.
Level 4 warnings have also been issued for some of the most visited cultural destinations in Western Europe, such as Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway and the United Kingdom (Great Britain / Ireland / Scotland).
Nonetheless, many people in Sidney still migrate across city, state and country borders for vacation.
“Having 38 years in the business, in my experience, regardless of the era, the desire to travel remains strong, people are resilient, adapt to change, realize that life is short and continue to travel” said Debi Pulfer, Senior Travel Advisor at Creative Vacations in Sidney.
Hometown Hotpots: Favorite Destinations for Sidney Residents
Some of Sidney’s favorite domestic destinations for the Christmas season include Florida, Hawaii, and New York.
Florida offers many family opportunities in Orlando with Disney and Universal Studies. Individuals and families looking for some fun in the sun might consider a beach house rental in the Tampa area. For those who enjoy fishing trips, there is the Florida panhandle as well as Key West. Arizona is a prime location for a desert vacation.
“Travel to the United States is extremely strong and many take trips to Hawaii,” Pulfer said.
Worth a visit at least once in his life, says Creamer, Times Square in New York on New Years Eve. He has made the trip himself several times.
The most popular international Christmas destinations for residents of Sidney include Mexico, Mexico (Cancun), the Southern Caribbean (Jamaica, Saint Lucia and the Bahamas), the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana) and Australasia ( Australia, New Zealand).
The Cancun Mexico resort area offers beaches, snorkeling, surfing, diving, and cruises, as well as inland excursions to explore pre-Columbian historic sites like the ancient Mayan ruins, Aztecs and Tulum. Mexico offers an added benefit that it currently does not require a test before entering the country from the United States.
The Dominican Republic and the Bahamas currently require testing and are listed as having a “level 3” travel advisory, which advises to “reconsider travel”.
The downside to popular hot cruise destinations is that you usually need to book one to two years in advance.
Planes, trains and cars: Sydney’s most popular modes of transport for the Christmas season 2021
The Vacationer’s survey indicates that nearly 35% plan to travel at least 100 miles for Christmas, and 33 million American adults want to travel by plane.
With this increase in demand, planning is important and staying up to date with the most recent travel information from a trusted source, such as a travel agent, is more important than ever.
Given the unpredictability of COVID and the associated travel requirements, Creamer joked, “‘Subject to change’ is going to be the title of my autobiography.”
As of November 24, 2021, the CDC recently required that all unvaccinated people traveling to the United States (including U.S. citizens returning from overseas) have a negative test result within 24 hours of leaving. People who are fully vaccinated may have a negative test result within three days of departure. However, as of December 6, 2021, “all international air passengers, regardless of their vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day before their trip to the United States,” the CDC announced on Friday. .
“Most resorts simplify the return process to the United States by offering the necessary COVID-19 testing on site and free of charge. As cruises have picked up, many cruise lines are also offering the test, ”Pulfer said.
Creamer offered the following summary and current advice on the most popular modes of travel for the upcoming vacation.
• Coach – The annual AAA Christmas shopping trip to Chicago for shopping is booked for this year, but reservations for next year are still open.
• Air Travel – Currently there are no airline change fees, but be prepared to pay a fare difference and limited seat availability when changing plans. Currently, there is no COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination on domestic flights, but passengers are required to wear a mask. International travel testing requirements vary by destination and airline.
• Cruises – The most popular winter cruises via AAA to Sidney are “all inclusive”, meaning an airfare, hotel, transportation and activities package.
• Car Rentals – Availability remains an issue, but the largest number of locally available car rentals can be obtained at Dayton International Airport.
Ohio Light Shows and Christmas Activities
For those who want to stay in Ohio or for those who couldn’t secure their vacation plans, there are popular destinations in the state with light shows and fun family activities.
Cliffton Mill (Clifton) has a light show featured in “Midwest Living” and “Ohio Magazine” and claims to be “one of the best light shows in the country”. In addition, there are horseback riding and a “working” Santa Claus workshop. The cost is $ 10 per person and children three and under are free. Light shows near Ohio worth checking out include Lost Creek Reserve (Troy) and Scioto Mile (Columbus). The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Wildlights feature a three-million-light display paired with activities such as getting up close to the zoo’s reindeer and sea lions. The Cincinnati Zoo (Cincinnati), ranked best zoo in the country in 2021 by “USA Today”, offers two million lights and a train ride on the North Polar Express.
For unique getaways, spend Christmas in a castle at Landoll’s Mohican Castle (Loudonville, Ohio) feasting on prime rib, salmon or roast pork dishes with Dijon honey. Escape to hibernation in a rustic Christmas cabin, equipped with a hot tub and fireplace in Hocking Hills (Logan) State Park.
To plan your next trip, call or visit the Shelby County AAA at 937-492-3167, 920 Wapakoneta Avenue in Sidney, or
Debi Pulfer at Creative Vacations, a division of All-Travel, at 937-498-7448, 16264 East Mason Road in Sidney.
Tropical getaways have an appeal for those fleeing the cold.
Caribbean destinations are among the most popular winter destinations among Sydney travelers.
Pet a reindeer at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Light exhibition at the Cincinatti Zoo representing polar bears under an arctic sky.
Lizard Lantern Light Show at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Wild light exhibit at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.